Fredericton — In the wake of the federal government’s decision to buy the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline, beer brewers across New Brunswick are calling for a new Atlantic Canadian pipeline to funded and built – but not for oil.
“We get it — climate change is real and we don’t need or necessarily want another oil pipeline right now,” says Sean McDuffin, founder of the newly minted Plaid Brew Co. “But we do need more pipelines — specifically we need a new draft beer pipeline between New Brunswick and Ontario.”
From McDuffin’s point of view, New Brunswick, like Alberta, has a desperately needed commodity — but instead of oil, it’s decent craft beer.
“Let’s face it, New Brunswick, maybe even Nova Scotia, we make the best craft beer in Canada. Period. And with the way Ontario’s election has gone, they’re going to need a massive influx of beer over the next four years,” he adds.
University of New Brunswick economics expert Prof. Donald Duff says a beer pipeline could hit the spot economically for Atlantic Canada and for Ontario.
“It’s the cheapest, safest way to get high volumes of quality craft beer — from IPAs to pilsners, from Grimross to Trailway — from our producers to the market that desperately needs a drink right now.”
Ontario never thirstier
“In the next four years, no matter which party wins, Ontario is expected to try and drink away the memory of this horrible election and its awful aftermath. Billions will be made in beer. Billions that could be made by New Brunswick brewers,” says Duff. “But we need a way to get that beer out and there aren’t enough trucks or railway cars to meet the massive demand.”
Sandy Burchess, head of the Climate Change Collective Committee (CCCC), initially objected to the idea of any new pipelines — until she heard it was for beer.
“It’s hard to imagine how any Canadian could object to a national beer pipeline. It’s finally the kind of infrastructure even Quebec will get behind,” she says. “Think of how this will help craft brewers who source only local organic ingredients!”
Universal Basic Beer Income
For Duff, the creation of a national pipeline that would first connect Atlantic Canada to Ontario and later cross the nation all the way to B.C., is the kind of infrastructure that will finally help quench the country’s thirst for a new social program called Universal Basic Beer Income.
“Everyone in Canada over the legal drinking age deserves — no, has the right — to a fair share of quality draft beer. We need to level the playing field between the good beer haves — New Brunswick — and the have-nots — the rest of the country.”
For those who couldn’t afford good craft beer before, having a national pipeline will make it possible for the government to subsidize purchasing so that everyone can at least have a growler or two a month, on the federal government’s tab.
For McDuffin, the national beer pipeline is a way to correct an economic injustice to New Brunswick.
“Look, if Justin’s going to blow a few billion on a dirty oil pipeline, he can sink a few billion into
something everyone wants: great beer!”